Maintaining Friendships, Even as an Introvert

Yesterday I talked about the art of letting go gracefully. I also mentioned that in this ideal life I had wrongfully imagined for myself I was hanging out with friends every weekend and living the high life. I also mentioned that was not happening. In the slightest.

I’ve never been a social butterfly, but when most of my social interaction comes from seven year olds, I start to go a little crazy. As an introvert, the last thing I want to do is go to a bar on a Friday night to see some friends. But also staying home every Friday night alone for months starts to get a little draining too.

Maintaining Friendships as an Introvert

Here are some things I’ve been doing to keep my offline relationships with my friends still alive, even as an introvert.

Set a Skype date and keep an old tradition.
For me, this meant calling my friend while we painted our nails. When we lived together, we would paint our nails constantly, and took the time while our nails were drying to relax and gossip. It was easy and fun for us to carve out a time in our schedule when we could keep up a tradition via Skype (or FaceTime or G-chat) and catch up at the same time.

Do something new with an old friend.
One of my friends I haven’t spoke to in literally years texted me asking if I was around. It would’ve been really easy for me to blow her off, but instead we made a plan to get together and play a game neither of us played before. It was fun to see an old friend again and learning something new together forced us to be less awkward.

Set aside ten minutes just to say hi.
This could be a ten minute phone call, but for me it was ten minutes in between jobs one afternoon when my friend was visiting home for the weekend but didn’t have time to hang out for any longer. With no doubt busy (and uncompromising) schedules, sometimes it’s hard to find time to meet up, so even a ten minute catch up is better than nothing.

Make a date and set it like it’s an appointment with your boss.
This is a tactic I use to make sure I exercise, but it works with friends too. My friends invited me to happy hour one afternoon and I really didn’t want to go. For one, local bars aren’t my thing (I have a ridiculous dread of running into people I went to high school with). Two, it was a Thursday which was my busiest day. As it was, I already hate to meet my two friends thirty minutes later than they wanted because I had work. However, I forced myself to go and ended up staying for a solid three hours. Once you’re there, you can decide if you want to cut out early, but at least make the effort to get out of the house.

Sometimes, I’m way more comfortable sitting in bed after work and decompressing the day away. But being out of college makes it hard to sustain relationships. I can’t just text my friend to get lunch with me in an hour, or knock on my friends door on the way to the library. It takes more effort than normal, which to introverts like myself can be just as draining.

What are some things you like to do to keep your relationships with friends in good shape? Do you have anything traditions with your college friends you still have today?

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